“Hello. I’m David.”
“What can you do, David?”
“I can do almost anything that could possibly be asked of me. I can assist your employees. I can make your organization more efficient… I can blend in with your workforce effortlessly.”
In the movie Prometheus, David is a state-of-the-art android who acts as the ship’s maintenance man and butler. Although, I believe humans will always be inherently more intelligent than a machine, the video’s futuristic faux-commercial made sense to me. David is not important to organizations because of his hardware; what makes him so invaluable is his software, which in this case is his humanistic AI. David is software.
While we are still years away from employing androids in the workplace, we have finally reached a point in time when hardware has become standardized and commoditized. In the beginning, computer companies differentiated themselves by the abilities of their machines. Some were faster than others; some held more storage; while others offered better graphics. Now, when Apple or Microsoft tries to sell you a tablet PC, they are differentiating themselves by showcasing the software each has at their disposal. RAM or available storage is largely irrelevant because they each have the capacity to offer the exact same hardware as the other. Much like David, it’s about software.
Hardware is Slowly Becoming Standardized
Technology is now a software feature; it is something that can be added to services and products to capture tremendous amounts of value.
Let’s use a car allegory: What’s the difference between a Ford and a Chevy? They each have four wheels, seats, airbags, a steering wheel, and axles. The physical aspects of the cars are almost identical. One may have more horsepower than the other, but for most people, that isn’t going to differentiate them. What will stand out are the telematics connected software: the gas-reducing computer software; the built-in GPS; the voice-controlled phone and radio. That’s software.
An example of this in your workplace is cloud computing. It no longer matters if you’re on an Apple or Dell computer or if your computer has enough storage space. The only thing that matters is if your computer has the software to access your cloud.
Software is even economizing your agency:
- Automation: Business functions that were once handled by humans are now carried out in the unseen space of technology
- Transformation: The ingenuity and creativity used in software is boosting the potential value of your agency to citizens
Your technological advantage is your software. It’s no longer your workforce or your financials – software handles those now anyway. Software encompasses all aspects of your organization from the back-end processes to the front-end interactions with people. I like to call the success of these integrations the Technology Sequence Value.
If your IT provider isn’t helping you develop and deploy innovative software solutions, services, processes, and models, you’re falling behind. They should not be a simple supplier, but acting as a value-added partner, creating holistic solutions that utilizes multiple products within their portfolio. They should see your agency’s big picture and know how to dispatch software that makes your life easier.
And the most exciting part is we are only at the very beginning of this new software-as-a-differentiator evolution.
So, if David is software, ask yourself: “What can David do for you?”